Monday, March 24, 2008


Prepare To Shop!

I know it's early, but May will be here before you know it, and I don't want you to be blindsided. It isn't often that our government asks for us to make sacrifices, and since our nation's destiny has been placed in our hands, we must answer the call of duty. Be prepared! What will you spend your $300 [or $600, should you be happily and traditionally married] on in order to save the economy?

Don't just sit on your unpatriotic ass and give me some lame response about paying down your Visa card or buying groceries and gas. Your country needs you. Our very way of life depends on your giving the economy a little goose.

I did write to President Bush, thanking him for his confidence in me personally, and suggesting that, rather than sending us a no-strings-attached check that he instead enclose gift certificates to Sky Mall, or Halliburton, or any other Republican subsidiary that would make the greatest impact in the shortest time. I haven't heard back from him, so I've been digging around and doing some research on my own. If the president is as busy as John McCain thinks he is, I may just have to go it alone. I have found some entirely worthy products that should enhance my quality of life while titillating the GNP. It's crucial that we pull together in our primary, shared American identity: that of the consumer.

How about a guillotine cigar cutter? Nothing says class like the rolling together of two of our sacred traditions: smoking and capital punishment. I know that we've had our problems with the French since we invaded Iraq, but now with Sarkozy and his supermodel, we can count on a thaw and return to the warm rapport we have otherwise enjoyed. Perhaps the state of Texas will adopt this technology for any upcoming executions. You can buy this beauty for a mere $99.95!

Along with the dominant American values cited above, we do enjoy pressing the latest technologies into the service of our primary relationships. If you've opted for the cigar cutter, you still have money to burn. Consider this Cat Genie, a litter box that looks so much like a toilet that you may find yourself using it yourself during the droughts that are sure to accompany an escalation of global warming. Just push old Max aside and let 'er rip.

Even with these treasures in hand you'll still have the funds to add to the ambiance of your home, so Fiat Lux, already! Let there be light! This stunning fixture will bathe your life in a glow that says Home Sweet Home to all who enter. Read your favorite Harlequin beneath it or simply sit before the fire and stroke it. It takes the remainder of your God- and government-given funds, but clearly, it will give you more than it will ever take away.

Different strokes for different folks, I always say, and if any of the above treasures do not meet your exacting requirements, may I offer you the Pharaoh clock? Should you have decorated your living room in blues and golds without having found the time piece of your dreams, look no further. This gem would have been at home in any of Saddam's palaces, and it will tell guests that nothing but the best will do for you. Consider it an expenditure of your oil dividends. You do have oil dividends, don't you? Of course you do!
If you're the sort of person who cares less about home d├ęcor and --inspired by our current Secretary of State-- more about making a personal statement with footwear, consider the Gravity Defyer shoe.

It contains a mechanism that gives you the feeling of jumping like a kangaroo (or some say they feel as if they are flying) with each step. If you don't have the balls to appear with a tall, beautiful woman as Dennis Kucinich does, you'll appear two inches taller, too! Only $129-220!

Another great way to stimulate the economy is to avail yourself of one of many technologies in a true growth industry--get yourself a bigger dick. Creams, pumps, herbal supplements: you've never had so many options. Bundle it with the kangaroo shoes and watch your prospects soar.

Along the above mentioned lines, nothing goes with a bigger hoo-haw than associated fire power. Should you be a happy couple with more to
spend, how about an assault rifle? If the Democrats have their way and put someone in the White House who doesn't buy the current occupant's We're Fighting Them Over There So We Don't Have To Fight Them Over Here rationale, you're going to have to pack some serious bang-bang. This fine manifestation of Personal Power runs more than an individual's Economic Incentive, perhaps the administration's way of encouraging us to ever greater family values and commitment-making. But you'll know that you're safe at home (or at work, or at McDonald's, or the post office, or wherever you pack it) with this beauty in your arms.

Last but by no means least, consider a purchase of Bear Stearns stock. If it's good enough for Morgan-Chase, it's good enough for you. And it's already rebounded from $2 to $10 a share. Now is the time. Band together with close personal friends --your book group, say, or your bowling team, and initiate a hostile takeover at bargain basement prices.

And may God Bless America!

Friday, March 21, 2008


Hands Across the Aisle: Helping the GOP with its 'Brand'

There's an identity crisis among Republicans, I'm told, and the target of blame for it is President Bush himself.

"It's no mystery," said Rep. Thomas M. Davis III (R-Va.). "You have a very unhappy electorate, which is no surprise, with oil at $108 a barrel, stocks down a few thousand points, a war in Iraq with no end in sight and a president who is still very, very unpopular. He's just killed the Republican brand."

This scapegoating is somewhat unfair, I think, since members of his party and not a few folks across the aisle have readily tagged after him as he blazed a Path of Mass Destruction for our country to follow.

Nevertheless, a Republican congressman recently lamented that the Republican "brand" had been sullied by the Oilman-in-Chief, and it was going to be derned difficult for party candidates to win elections for quite some time.

I must admit I felt a pang of pity for the Grand Old Party. After all, my Republican roots run deep. Both my parents were Republicans. My high school sweetheart and I were Teen Age Republicans, at least till we were asked to leave a meeting when we wouldn't stop badgering Pat Hitt (eventually Undersecretary of Health, Education, and Welfare in the Nixon Administration and at the time a state party mucky-muck) about her statement that one should vote for the party rather than for the candidate, since the party would straighten [him] out if he was a dork.

I have always been grateful to the party for asking me to leave. Like the extremely compliant child that I was, I never came back.

That is, not until now, when I offer the GOP several "branding" suggestions ("branding" is the current in-process for organizations).

Let's start with this guy. Dubya may have messed up the brand, but Cheney has been so out of
view lately that it might just be time to bring him back. With his impending retirement, he might enjoy stepping out of his suits and into something more with it. It's important to be unapologetic, even proud. Even with the basis for the invasion of Iraq having been utterly debunked, Dick continues to make his connection between Saddam and Al Qaeda, showing that he still places great faith in his "Go fuck yourself" approach to staying on message. Say it loud! I'm corrupt, and I'm proud!

Republicanism also appeals to the little guy who aspires to be a bigger guy, and it is to this demographic that I offer the Fat Cat on a Bed of Roses brand. Yes, petty tyrant in the workplace, this could be you, but only if you vote for our anti-regulatory representatives, the very brand-holders who stand between you and utter failure in the capital venture of your choice. You are only as big as your dreams, this brand suggests. Vote us in and fill your bathtub with the petals of the Fragrant Cloud.

This one meets the needs of the evangelical base. Focused on the healing
power of Jesus, candidates can wrap their various boo-boos (including self-inflicted gashes and gaffes) while on the campaign trail. Surely anyone who uses these bright bandages, which represent the physical means of mending the spiritual malaise of our times is likely to generate trust in the electorate. However, you may not wrap them around your genitals, should you find yourself Off the Path. They simply won't stick.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008


Giving Political Wives a Bye

It happened with record speed: Eliot Spitzer was gone, David Paterson sworn in. There were the jubilant public radio interviews with spokes-folks of the handicapped? challenged? word of the week? I was just developing a fond feeling for the man who launched a couple of his jokes at his inauguration, hoping that he wouldn't get screwed by his fellow Empire State pols, when word of Paterson's press conference came, giving even more hope to Americans with Disabilities: not only can you aspire to high office, you can get laid as well.

As usual, there was his Wife By His Side.

Most news stories which purport to break the latest nookie scoop regarding our elected officials begin with the phrase, with his wife by his side. It's so reassuring, though I'm not sure to whom, for the cameras to play across the face of the latest cipher-spouse. Look! She's looking sort of sympathetic! (Mrs. James ["I am a gay American"] McGreevey); That woman's gotta be in denial (Mrs. Larry ["I am NOT gay"] Craig); I wouldn't let that asshole lay a hand on me if I were her (Mrs. David Vitter);Wow, is she ever pissed! (Mrs. Eliot Spitzer), and now She doesn't really look as if she had to wait around for his ol' dumb self (Mrs. David Paterson).

It's a shame that we can't always know what roads our spouses may eventually take. Otherwise it might be possible to insert the Not By-His-Side clause into prenuptial agreements, contracts that ought to required for those seeking public office. Think of it: In the event that the party of the second part is discovered wiggling his private parts in public places, humping members of his staff in private and tax-supported institutions, or coked out of his head in a brothel, the party of the first part is hereby released from any obligation to take a position by the side of the party of the second part. The party of the second part will be forced to cover his own sorry ass out there in public.

Party of the first part is additionally spared two-bit psychoanalysis by members of the Fifth Estate until such time as she is pissed off enough to speak out on her own, to the interviewer of her choice. Party of the second part hereby agrees to supply party of the first part with the substance of her choice for enduring the
ensuing storm.

A part of me is perversely pleased that David P. is one of the boys. He'll be able to take care of himself, I think. His romps, unlike those of his predecessor, were free and therefore entirely legal, a dubious consolation, I know, reflective of the times. Still, women deserve protection, at least till the distant(?) day when some husband has to stand at the side of his politico-wife who has turned up on the internet wielding whips and chains and wiping whip cream from her considerable bosom. The Not-By-His Side prenup clause can serve as a stopgap till then.

Lulu Maude, Esq. reminds you that you read it here first.

Thursday, March 13, 2008


Missing All the Fun

I've been down --way down-- with the flu for a week. It's really cramped my style.

Take ol' Elliott Spitzer: this pathetic Photoshop was the most I could come up with, then I fell back into bed. No snark, no nothin'.

While in bed I had lots of time to contemplate prostitution, alpha males who can't (or make no effort to) get along with others. It's so important to be nice to one's little friends. God, it was deep.

I thought about sex as sandbox, about the need for away time, perqs of power--all that sort of thing. I visited a Nevada brothel web site and watched some older babe pole dance in a struggle to regain her whatever. Profound.

You can see that I still Haven't Got It. I'm still too woozy for Deep Thoughts.

I do have to say that Elliott's woes were a welcome change from campaign coverage. I am so fucking bored. For the first time I've wished we had TV--but only on a temp basis, till I get my energy back. At my age I am aware that I have only so much time left, and I don't want my obit to read, "Lulu Maude: Saw Every Episode of 'Law and Order' Twice."

So I've pulled out my guitar and strummed. Watched both the "Dr. Who" DVDs I rented before I was Taken Ill. Read Eudora Welty on Katharine Ann Porter's fiction, then read Katharine Ann her own self. Contemplated starting a diary, then didn't.

Those L&O reruns don't sound half bad.

So Elliott, go ahead and screw up your life without me. Burn New York state, our neighbor next door. Piss off your wife, maybe terminally. Then resign and leave your successor wondering just how you do clean up the pit that is Albany politics.

Just don't expect any help from me.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008


Sweet Mystery of Moi

You'd think that after all these years of being acquainted with myself that I'd find myself more predictable.

Not so.

In our mutually accepting household we do not attempt to melt into an amorphous us. I have always cringed at the Imperial We that I have heard many couples use as a substitute for compatibility.

Therefore it didn't surprise me that my spouse was poised to vote for Obama, while I was going to vote for Hillary. When an Obama campaigner came to the door the other day, spouse cheerfully told her the state of our voting plans.

Today was the day, and off to the local high school gym we did go, the better to make our wishes known.

I'd settled into my little starred and striped booth and filled in the little oval next to Hillary's name. But I did a double-take at the names on the ballot.

There they still were: John Edwards and Dennis Kucinich, two guys I liked ever so much better than the two who remained. I sighed and went on to vote on the sections of the town ballot regarding public transit, allocations to community groups who provide valuable local services and so on. I stared blankly at the names of the select board candidates--we have the worst select boards-- voted for minor town and county functionaries (support your local constable!), then returned to the presidential primary ballot.

I looked again at Edwards and Kucinich and sighed. They'd never stood a chance with the big drama the media made out of the Hillary-Obama rivalry. It was strange--these two ended up in a dead heat more because their contest would make a better story, all full of historical significance and psychodrama.

I felt a wave of resentment rising, breaking, buoying me on some internal tide. I watched almost helplessly as I erased the filled in oval by Hillary's name. If she is the nominee in November, I will have no problem voting for her. Ditto Obama.

But for right now I was pissed about the media's wanton disregard of two good guys who deserved more consideration, not for the drama of the race but for the virtues of the policies I thought they would put into place.

I haven't heard much from John Edwards since he left the race, but Dennis's emails continue to pop up in my inbox. Nice boy, Dennis--still bothers to keep in touch. I like him standing next to his tall wife and smiling, too--entirely undiminished by her tall self. After another beat I filled in the oval next to Dennis's name. (I'm glad we weren't using voting machines... there's something visceral in wielding the pencil.)

I imagine that Obama will end up taking Vermont, and I guess that's fine. His organization has been busy here. I just know that when I saw that I had a couple of choices other than Barack and Hillary, I was unable to ignore them. I made Dennis my Prince Charming du Jour.

I won't go wild in November and vote for Ralph, but it sure felt nice to vote for someone I really, really liked.

I'll be more practical, less pure, in November.

Saturday, March 01, 2008


O Say Can You See? I Wish I Could.

As I look ahead to Tuesday's primary here in Vermont I find myself trying to anticipate the nation's mood in the general election. I am hearing news accounts of a rightward shift on Iraq. The surge seems to be working; why step back now? You make a mess, you clean it up.

Then there is the corner into which we Democrats have painted ourselves. We have forced a referendum on race and gender by virtue of the candidates left trying to mount their own surge to the nomination. Which prejudice figures less devastatingly in America, '08: race or gender? Is the US up for a historic first, or will the white guy default reassert itself?

Experience is another factor that may be significant in the voting booth, come November. We are on an anti-experience roll at the moment, having disdained the experiences of the current occupant of the White House. But McCain's been in the Senate for a pretty long time, and the American people can get a little nervous about neophytes and potential vulnerabilities in the debates to come. He can point to lots of accomplishments, some of which won't play well to the Republican base (which will otherwise come together through the magic of Karl Rove's negative campaigning, the silencing of Rush and Ann, and the play to one of the aforementioned prejudices). He'll be able to play the role of the elder statesman, never mind that he falls back on his warrior past as the solution to the problems that lie before us.

Obama seems to me to be the Man on a Horse, here to rescue us from the current morass. He can be whatever we want him to be: conciliatory, peace-bearing, race uniting. His years as a community organizer mean that he's had meaningful contact with the disenfranchised. When news came of Fidel's resignation, he stepped wide of the unproductive US tradition of refusing to meet with his successor, while Hillary toed the usual line. However, Obama's bold step forward could cost him Miami votes, and perhaps Hillary was stepping to the right for a moment, safe in the cover of US policy.

Billary's early efforts in the Clinton administration were the pursuit of the right objectives hampered by the use of the wrong tactics. Thus universal health care crashed and burned, along with the rights of gays in the military. In these campaigns the Dynamic Duo lost their DC virginity. Clearly they were klutzes, but their hearts were in the right place. I am still pissed at Bill's pandering to the right with welfare "reform" and the rest. And that Defense of Marriage was pretty pathetic, though I still believe that the best protection gays have for their unions isn't a blessing by the state, but a good, strong trust drawn up by a lawyer that carefully spells out the roles that the partner is to play in the event of incapacitation. All else is wishful thinking.

I do experience concern about how effective Obama would be, once in office. The executive function is pretty removed from the legislative one. He could unite the country, or he could turn out to be another Jimmy Carter, a person whom I regard more highly than any other ex-president, but who wasn't able to govern well during his time in the White House.

How far has our nation come? If the press is any reflection, we still have a long way to go on
gender. If Hillary's tactics haven't always been Of the Light, they haven't been innovative in their machinations. If Barack has been in the process of learning how to manage the opposition, more power to him. He may not know what hits him, once he steps beyond the comparatively safe confines of the Democratic Party. Race is still an issue; my colleague's son, working on the Obama campaign, was told by a man he called that he'd never vote for that "fucking half-breed." (He must have been watching a lot of old westerns.)

For once, our biddy little Vermont votes seem to matter. I've never felt so hesitant about whether my vote would speak wisely enough to serve our country well.

I'm glad I'm not alone.

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